If you're thinking about getting chickens but still need a little convincing, (or need to convince someone else!) here is our list of 10 reasons to keep backyard chickens!
I had never been that fussed on chickens - to be completely honest with you, they kind of freaked me out a little. But when we stayed with my aunt & uncle who keep chickens and saw how great it was being able to just go out to the backyard and collect the fresh eggs everyday I was sold. We got home and within a few weeks plans were in motion for our chooks and we have never looked back. I love having chickens so much that I even managed to sell the idea to a couple of my workmates who got a few of their own - and they live in the city!
But if you need a little convincing, here are 10 reasons to keep backyard chickens (townies included!)
1. Fresh eggs!
While this is the obvious reason, there is more to it than you might think. Research has shown that there are more nutrients in fresh eggs than in supermarket eggs - hardly surprising given that you never really know how long those eggs have been on the shelf for. And going out in the morning to collect the warm eggs from the nesting boxes never gets old. Another huge selling point for this argument is the "free-range" debate. Here in New Zealand the rules around what constitutes "free range" when it comes to eggs for sale are a bit of a grey area so to avoid confusion, get your own! Also (yes, fresh eggs are #1 on the list for a good reason!) if we crack open an egg laid by our chooks and a bought one they are SO different! Our yolks are bright orange whereas the supermarket eggs are pretty pale yellow. And I can honestly say they taste better. Try it!
2. Entertainment value
I sound like a crazy chicken lady but they are actually hilarious to watch. They all have quirky personalities and follow you around the paddock. And when they come running they actually look like little T-Rex’s with wings!
3. They eat food scraps
Chickens are actually living waste disposals – what else turns your kitchen scraps into delicious eggs? Our chickens eat just about any scraps we give them – their favourite is mashed potato! They are a perfect way to reduce your household waste!
4. They are great pets for kids
Chickens are the perfect introductory pet for kids - they can help with feeding & collecting eggs and as chickens are generally pretty docile birds they can be really hands on. Sadie has been collecting the eggs since she was 1! It’s also a great way to introduce kids to where their food comes from.
5. Pest control
Chickens love to eat bugs which is great for pest control, particularly around gardens.
6. They are money makers
Super productive hens? Sell the eggs! When I worked in town the prospect of farm fresh eggs was a huge bonus for my workmates so when we had extras, I would sell them at work. During summer when the chooks were laying like crazy we could make enough to cover the cost of the bag of chook feed which made us pretty happy!
7. Free labour
Let them loose in your garden beds before planting and they will dig and scratch to their heart's content, getting the soil ready for seedlings. Don’t let them anywhere near the gardens once they’re planted though – it’ll end in tears! And as a bonus, their poop makes fantastic fertiliser!
8. Chicken coops are so cute!
They give you an excuse to have an adorable coop right outside your window!
9. They are extremely low maintenance pets
As long as they have food, water & shelter they are perfectly happy to just go about their business.
10. Baby chicks!
I love baby anything but chicks are just the cutest little things you will ever see. You can go au natural if you want a rooster around, otherwise buy some fertilised eggs, pop them under a broody hen (or in an incubator) and wait patiently for hatch day. It doesn’t get much more exciting than this!
Do you want to keep backyard chickens but don't know where to start? The next post in this series will cover everything you need to know about keeping chickens! Sign up to my email list to make sure you don't miss it!